Today I'm handing over my blog to a doctor I know here in Britain - we often have interesting dicussions about the state of British health!
Here's what she had to say in response to a rant I had about the recommendations MOST doctors give out being relatively useless in solving Britain's obesity crisis.
Now before I get set upon, there ARE some doctors who, because they actually train themselves and really do eat healthily, give out recommendations beyonhd the usual 'moderate exercise 3 times per week and 5 a day' rubbish!
Unfortunately these people are sadly in a very small minority.
My own doctor is overweight. (The guy below is not my doctor by the way!)
It's a disgrace and hard to see a way past it, especially when you see the problems doctors face.....
"Most of my overweight patients are over 40, don't possess a pair of trainers
and think that healthy eating means having salad with their third takeaway
of the week.
They take little responsibility for their own predicament, always having an excuse ready, and, if they want a solution to their weight problem (and believe me, many don't), want someone else to fix the problem for them.
The only medications available to facilitate weight loss are useless without
significant lifestyle changes, and are never something I suggest to people.
However, the pressure to prescribe can be great from those who have read articles in the latest women's magazine.
To date I have not had anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight with them, mainly because they fail to make big enough changes to their diet and exercise regime, divulging all responsibility to the medication and me.
Take a recent patient who in 6 months has lost only 10kg (9% of their original weight) despite taking sibutramine (an appetite suppressant), in comparison with my 9.5kg (14%) in under 3 months.
The perpetual excuses of parties, friends visiting and lack of motivation abound.
The new fad for gastric banding is also taking over.
I have a patient with a BMI over 50 (yes, over 50) who says she can't eat less as she has to entertain with work and it would be embarrassing to not partake in the food and drink as she does. But she would like a gastric band as that would give her an excuse to say no.
Therein lies her problem.
No responsibility and passing the buck to someone or something else.
Equally many of those I see have zero knowledge of what a healthy diet and exercise plan looks like.
People who contact you for either exercise and/or diet advice are already, by definition, aware that how they live needs changing and are taking proactive steps to make changes.
Most of the people who come in contact with me have no real insight into their predicament.
Advice has to be tailored to their educational level and level of understanding of the problem. Initial suggestions to 'exercise more and eat 5 a day' are often major progress in their lifestyle.
For someone who regards walking up 1 flight of stairs at work a couple of times a day as exercise, getting them to take a walk at lunchtime is a big step.
So, enough of my ranting. I am converted, I know what needs to be done, but persuading the unwilling masses is a task not even I can achieve."
See the problems the Western world faces?
I lay the blame squarely at the feet of the media and the government.
We are all programmed by what we see and hear all day so for those who have been brought up on crap magazines and quick fix media hype, can we really blame them.
To a certain extent I believe it is there responsibility to find out what they need to do but I guess it could be argued that they think they are taking that action by reading those magazines.
Is there anything we can do other than have the government impose much stricter rules on what can be advertised?
What can we expect when our own leader has more 'Chins' than a Chinese phone book?
No amount of shouting and raving from people like me can overcome the mulit-billion dollar marketing campaigns of the big firms.
Surely it should have gone through lengthy testing before being allowed to be advertised?
How do we implement this?
It's a sad state of affairs guys and we all need to start sitting up, taking notes and doing something about it.
Our doctor claims it is a big step for people to start walking each day but is it when there is concrete evidence that interval training, weight training and 95% clean diets are the only way to force life-changing fat burning processes in the human body?
How can we say it is a success if someone loses 1.5 stones but still has a very high risk of cardiac complications, diabetes and various other diseases. They will more than likely die early.
I also see problems with 'tailoring' advice to individual needs if I'm honest. It's like the failed attempts at downgrading cannabis to prevent drug use.
We pander to people rather than telling them straight "You're obese adn unless you do exactly what I tell you, you will die."
We all know gastric banding won't work in the long-term as it just gives people an excuse to start again with their crappy lifestyles.
Like the global warming issue, something big needs to happen and fast or do we face irreversable damage to the human race?
What are your thoughts?